How safe will tourists be in NSW National Parks

Submitted: Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 17:45
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If park rangers have to wear hi-vis vests how safe would ordinary park visitors be? See ABC news item here

On the face of it using recreational shooters to cull feral animals in NPs may have some merit. There is no doubt that feral animals (and plants) are abundant in these so-called pristine places. But surely the park being culled (or part thereof) should be closed for the duration of the cull. This current proposal for NSW NPs is looking more daft all the time - though I note that the scheme has now supposedly been postponed.

I would certainly be reluctant to visit a NSW National Park if there was likely to be shooting happening at the time. But maybe thats the intended outcome?

Does this type of culling by amateur shooters actually happen in other states as claimed. If so how well does it work.

Cheers,

Val
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Reply By: Lloyd M - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:09

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:09
When was the last time you read / saw on TV that a National Park visitor in Victoria was shot or injured by a hunter there ? They have been hunting in their parks for well over 10 years to my knowledge.

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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:46

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:46
Not strictly correct. Hunting in Victorian National Parks is not allowed in general but there are a few exceptions only for game like deer and ducks in season. The hunting of feral animals is NOT permitted in National Parks according to the official link below.

You are allowed to hunt in state forests but under strict guidelines.

Where you can hunt in Victoria
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Follow Up By: Member - eighty matey - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:21

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:21
They've been shooting in NSW State Forests for 3 or 4 years now. There hasn't been any problems reported.

I know there are strict guidelines relating to the licencing of shooters in State Forests, as well as restictions as to where they can shoot.

Others might be able to give more info but I know it won't be a free for all shooting anywhere, anytime.

The info that is leaking out to the media outlets, bit by bit, is all related to a risk assessment that has been written up relating to shooting in NSW NPs.
Any half decent risk assessment would be considering every aspect of would "might" happen. That's what they're all about.

Hoo roo,
Steve
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Reply By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:22

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:22
Val, you might be onto something there - if they're so concerned about feral animals, why not make it a condition of the shooting license that for every day they spend hunting, they have to spend another day pulling out lantana and other noxious weeds....

* ducks head *
AnswerID: 505534

Follow Up By: Member - Terry W4 - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:57

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 18:57
Gold.

I used to be a hunter (quite good I would say) in my teens and 20s. Sporting shooters will have very little impact on ferals. Years ago I used to shoot pigs at Nyngan - on a trip on one property maybe shoot a total of six between two of us. No impact on numbers. Eradication has to be on an industrial scale.

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Follow Up By: Member - Tony V (NSW) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:16

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:16
Scott, would you impose this on all National Parks users or are you only 'targeting' hunters?

I could suggest that its the responsibility of all NP and State Forest users to prevent or eradicate weeds. In particular mud laden 4WD's, dirt bikes and horses that can carry the seeds of weeds and noxious weeds.

As for shooters, from what I have seen in NSW and Victoria is that the areas are well marked that shooters may be in the area, and shooters are limited to how close to the roads that they can hunt.

It still 100% safer than some of the Sydney suburbs...... lol
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Reply By: Rockape - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 19:12

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 19:12
Val,
I agree with you, the parks should be shut and pros bought in as a team to do the job.

You only have to look at Carnarvon Gorge to see the results of not controlling pig populations.

All the best,
RA.
AnswerID: 505543

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 19:55

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 19:55
Val maybe wear a bright Hawain shirt with bells on your shoes and practice the bagpipes whilst in camp so they know you are there LOL

I am not so sure that amateur hunters are going to have any meaningful effect on feral animals in an ad hock type approach. I would still think that there would be suitably experienced amateurs that would pay or offer there services for free for the opportunity to hunt in the parks but it would want to be a structured event in advertised zones so the public could go elsewhere when on
AnswerID: 505548

Follow Up By: woodie3 - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:26

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:26
Hello, can someone explain to me why we are all passively accepting the fact that people with guns are going to be let loose in areas where they are almost certainly going to come across other people/hikers and not be aware that they are in the same vicinity, I do not have a problem with people who want to go out shooting, I do have a problem when I have to find out from, I am not sure who, where they are going to be, and so avoid them. amazed this has not stirred up more concern, regards Bill
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:59

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 20:59
That is a fair point and one that will need to be sorted out if this is to work
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Reply By: toffytrailertrash - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:22

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:22
You will be as safe walking around a National Park as you would walking down any street in any city of Australia, just remember not to wear your antlers. You would probably be very surprised just how much an d how many projectiles are whizzing around out there

Cheers
Merv
AnswerID: 505557

Reply By: SDG - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:25

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 21:25
A list of parks that is allowed to be hunted in.

http://www.wires.org.au/component/content/article/258.html

What can be hunted and what licence is required.

http://www.gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au/portal.asp?p=WhatCanIHunt#Cat%2b2

How to get the R licence which is required to hunt on public lands.

http://www.gamecouncil.nsw.gov.au/portal.asp?p=Licence-StandardR


AnswerID: 505558

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:04

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:04
For years recreation shooters hunted right across the Vic High Country then an imaginary line was drawn where they were all of a sudden excluded from one side. Of course the vermin didn't see the line so flourished in the Parks. Shooters have continued to hunt throughout the adjacent State parks & reserves since without any major safety issue that I've heard of so rest assured you wont be shot while hiking.
Recreation shooters will never erradicate all the vermin but to do little or nothing as is currently the policy has led to where they are today with an increasing feral problem.
I had to laugh when the local Ranger spoke about a wild goat that had escaped from a farm into the Park which even they weren't allowed to shoot so the plan was to shoo it over the line where a professional shooter could legally do the job :-))
Wild dogs too are a big problem where Parks are bordered by sheep grazing country. Dogs hide in the bush & the farmers aren't allowed to go in to shoot them.
If a serious effort isn't made with professional shooters I say open it up to the recreational groups.
Cheers Craig..............
AnswerID: 505564

Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 00:41

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 00:41
I'm confused Craig. According to some proponents of the idea this is just a small step on from what has been going on officially for decades (along with baiting for example) but you claim nothing or very little is ever done to erdicate ferals. The former is closer to the truth but employing professional shooters is expensive and depending on the target animal it's not a very effective way of controlling pests. I'd have to agree that kids with bows and arrow is a great idea though. I for one am thankful that farmers aren't allowed to wander into parks at will to shoot wild dogs and other pests. Such ad hocery would be irresponsible and ruddy dangerous.
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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:29

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 10:29
Bazooka: will you please explain to me why you consider farmers shooting in National Parks more dangerous than farmers shooting in the State Forests which surround and abut them?

There is no logic to the blanket banning of hunting in National Parks, parks should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

As others have mentioned this ruling has simply made NPs sanctuaries for pest animals rather than the "Pristine Wilderness" people who spend their lives in the city and watch too many Disney films would have us believe.

Ask the farmers around Benambra (east Victoria) how many sheep they loose to the wild dogs which reside in the Alpine National Park which surrounds their properties. It's enough to threaten their livelihoods in some cases!

Safety wise; hunters have been shooting in State Forests since this country was founded and they don't appear to be littered with the bodies of happy picnickers clutching photographs of Bambi.

The thing is a beat-up by the press because the press is populated by latte drinking, city dewlling, Greenies who think "Guns are bad" and meat should only come from Safeway - killed by someone else, of course....

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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 17:26

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 17:26
I said ad hoc, for good reason. There is absolutely nothing wrong with controlled (note the word) culling of feral animals by professionals in National Parks. It's been happening for decades, often in consultation with the farmers you mention - as I'm sure you know.


With regard to your littered bodies comment - there are shooting accidents resulting in fatalities every year and this policy simply widens the scope for the involvement of innocent third parties. You might be able to wear the possibility of an occasional death or injury as collateral damage associated with a new found individual freedom but I don't buy it one iota, even if the likelihood is very small.


Despite your opinion to the contrary there are plenty of reasons for prohibiting hunting by amateurs in National Parks. Not even the Shooters Party argues that this new policy will do anything significant to reduce feral animal numbers. Recent alleged actions by a senior member of the Game Council shows just how little respect some hunters have for following the rules and if you think there is nothing wrong with allowing bow and arrow hunting by anyone (let alone kids) in this day and age what can I say? Even if you are prepared to ignore the likelihood of bad and inhumane kills and incorrect identification of target animals (I'm not), the prospect of having amateurs with guns, licensed or otherwise, roaming National Parks is not something I would ever entertain as a sane policy.


Sue Dengate and others put it well in yesterday's SMH Letters page. Perhaps you think that Australian hunters are smarter and more responsible than their NZ counterparts and what has happened in NZ could never happen here?


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Follow Up By: Nigel Migraine - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:16

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 18:16
Either you fail to understand the situation which pertains here in Victoria or you choose to ignore it because it disproves your argument.

Hunting of pest animals in State Forests by anyone with a firearms licence or an appropriate bow, at any time of the day/night/year has been permitted in this state since (before?) Federation. This practice works satisfactorily and there is no reason why it should not do so in (case-by-case chosen) National Parks. Indeed, in the Alpine National Park the hunting of deer has been permitted for many years.

--- "You might be able to wear the possibility of an occasional death or injury as collateral damage associated with a new found individual freedom but I don't buy it one iota, even if the likelihood is very small"

So... I can expect to see you campaigning for the abolition of:
Golf
Cycling
Swimming
Archery
Cricket
Bushwalking
etc

Every activity in life comes with a degree of risk and despite all the cotton wool you can buy you'll never be able to dispel that risk.

Unfortunately, in recent times, many in our society seem to think it's their duty to regulate others well beyond what common sense and reasonableness require, invariably they fly the flag of "Safety" in an attempt to justify their need to control. We need to refute and reject such notions lest we turn into a bigger bunch of wimps than we've already become.

--- "Despite your opinion to the contrary there are plenty of reasons for prohibiting hunting by amateurs in National Parks"

So far you've failed to indicate any, just some airy concern about safety which I dealt with above.

Bazooka: unless you are able to highlight different issues between hunting in State Forests and in (case-by-case chosen) National Parks then you have no rational argument, simply an emotional one of "I don't like it".

By the way; how do you feel about Aboriginals who legally hunt on tens of thousands of hectares in National Parks?
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 19:58

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 19:58
Interesting response. It's plain to see I've provided reasons for my objection. The fact that you don't agree with them doesn't magically make them disappear. Nor does the trite nanny state argument make them any less relevant. It may be very appealing to the "I" generation and rednecks but it leaks like a sieve whenever you look at facts, no matter what the subject. Advanced societies function on the principle of the greater good. This necessarily results in the curbing of certain individual behaviours and we can be extremely grateful for that. Not being able to carry firearms and shoot in parks set aside essentially for conservation is a terrible blight on individual freedom I'll grant you that. Makes you wonder why the masses aren't revolting doesn't it? Any ideas why many farmers don't allow hunters on their properties? Perhaps they don't trust hunters in many cases? Just a thought.


There are on average 26 accidental deaths from firearms every year in this country. If hunters can't look after themselves why should the public have any confidence that they can look after other park users, let alone the fauna? Even the best-trained can make mistakes as Sue Dengate's letter so ably demonstrated. One mistake is one too many where guns are concerned.

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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:11

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 22:11
Val,

Heard on ABC Longreach the other day that Welford NP is to be closed for a period(maybe week or 10 days) while NP conduct a feral cull program. They seem to have these every year about this time, while visitor numbers are likely to be low.

About eradication, there were 2 culling programs organised along the Barcoo River last year, by Desert Channels Group and others, and they shot just over 4,000 pigs. While the porkers probably haven't been wiped out, the loss of that number will keep the population low for some years.

Back in the late '80's, we had some blokes visit us on the Diamantina, and between them and their ridgeback cross dogs, they accounted for over 200 in 4-5 days. The local ferals were very scarce then for 3 or 4 years. Oops, getting OT here.....

Bob.

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Rockape - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 08:47

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 08:47
Bob,
they should seek out one of Huddy's scraper operators. You could see where he went bush and 9 little piggies went to piggy heaven that day. LOL.

RA.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 08:55

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 08:55
Hi Bob,

That seems to be a sensible approach - close the park for short time and make a concerted effort to get rid of the ferals.

Cheers,

Val
J and V
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 15:02

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 15:02
I drove all the way down to the park at Bungonia Gorge near Goulburn and it was closed because shooters were doing a cull. That was a few years ago. My question is, if pro shooters have the park closed why is it ok to open for amateurs?
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Follow Up By: mikehzz - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 15:03

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 15:03
I drove all the way down to the park at Bungonia Gorge near Goulburn and it was closed because shooters were doing a cull. That was a few years ago. My question is, if pro shooters have the park closed why is it ok to open for amateurs?
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 07:47

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 07:47
It really won't be a problem if this is introduced.

Hunters have silencers not to disturb tourists

It's worth reading the last couple of paragraphs which defines the shooting areas and control.
AnswerID: 505586

Follow Up By: disco driver - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 12:08

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 12:08
O'Farrell has ruled out using silencers (see News.com this morning)

Personally I would much rather be able to hear that there are shooters in my vicinity. That way I would be able to POQ and minimise any risks.

Disco.
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Follow Up By: SDG - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 18:14

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 18:14
Even as a hunter I do not agree with silencers. These are already illegal, so making them available will open the doors to other problems involving them that does not include hunting.
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Reply By: Capt. Wrongway - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 14:41

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 14:41
The bottom line is this ........ it would not have been allowed had the inept Labor Party not need the Shooters Party's support and votes. If ( or when ) someone gets accidentally shot, the Labor Party will not be in power to be held accountable.
Bazza
AnswerID: 505610

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 16:59

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 16:59
Wrongway, I think live up to your name...it's the Liberal Party that needed the Shooters support for its electricity privatization scheme. :-)

Article here
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 16:31

Sunday, Mar 03, 2013 at 16:31
ROFL. On yer Bazza, don't let the facts get in the way of your opinion mate. The NSW ALP sold its soul to many rent seekers over the years but the Shooters Party wasn't among them.
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Reply By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 22:22

Tuesday, Feb 26, 2013 at 22:22
Interesting thread! I suspect that you will be a lot safer walking the bush with all those amateur shooters then driving a car on our roads. I have not heard of any recent accidental shooting but they do happen although probably less these days. The notion of pro shooters doing feral culling is very expensive and I would rather have those dollars going to a hospital somewhere instead. If it wasn't for willing volunteers culling these ferals around the edges of parks the whole feral popoulation would be a lot worse I suspect.

A while ago I saw some numbers about the cost of culling outback camels at something like $200,000 per animal and deer in the Royal National Park at well over a $1,000 with both schemes only having limited sucess.

Kind regards
AnswerID: 505650

Reply By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:48

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 10:48
Thanks everyone for your considered and thoughtful replies. I was in 2 minds about making this post, thinking it might have degenerated into a political brawl - I am pleased that I was proved wrong on that score.

I do think there is a place for hunters to help control feral animals, but it has to be done right, and monitored properly. Safety must be top priority, as well as effectiveness.

I recall that there was (and maybe still is) a scheme in Tasmania where farmers and hunters have an agreement whereby shooters go onto properties to cull feral animals (especially deer) under mutually agreed conditions. The accounts I heard was that it worked well.

We have a massive problem with plant and animal pests and we can all do a bit to avoid making the problem worse. I will watch this national parks effort with interest.

Cheers,

Val.
J and V
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:07

Wednesday, Feb 27, 2013 at 18:07
Just to give some idea of the feral problem, the Toorale NP management has been a total boondoggle for the past 4 years and resulted in the following.............

"NPWS western director Mark Peacock is responsible for the management of Toorale and said since it was purchased eight aerial shoots had been undertaken, removing 10,182 feral pigs and 13,736 feral goats."

Here is an account of the total screw up in the formation of this NP.

Toorale Station
AnswerID: 505701

Reply By: Lyn W3 - Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 10:09

Friday, Mar 01, 2013 at 10:09
Looks like you won't have to worry for a while.............

Hunting in parks put on hold
AnswerID: 505806

Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 08:51

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 at 08:51
This news item about illegal shooting in parks -link here - suggests that this matter might have a way to run yet.

Val.
J and V
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